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kevinjohnsonmbe

Background to the HSE decision on two rope working

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Paul,

 

Your article seems to suggets a lack of clarity when it comes to analysing accident statistics on the part of the HSE:

 

' There is no SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code for accidents specifically in arboriculture, and despite prolonged lobbying from the AA and other sector representatives, the HSE claims it is unable to introduce this because the codes are tied to international standards. This means that while it is relatively easy to keep records of fatal accidents within the sector, it is much harder to maintain reliable data for the details of injuries.

 

However, in 2018, HSE analysed RIDDOR reports for the period April 2017–March 2018 by searching for key words. Although heavily caveated as not being a comprehensive record, the findings were published in an open paper (AFAG 33/02) which was presented at the November 2018 AFAG meeting. According to the analysis, there were 117 recorded RIDDOR-reportable incidents in arboriculture during that period. Of these, 23 were falls from height, of which one was fatal, 6 resulted in fractured vertebrae, 3 multiple fractures, 5 lower limb fractures and fracture to ankle, ribs and wrist.'

 

If the HSE cannot demonstrate that using a single anchor has been the cause of incidents, which from your article would appear to be the case, then how can these stats be used to change working practice?  Were climbers at fault themselves; were people even climbing or just falling off wobbly ladders; were they not tied in when moving around the tree etc etc.

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

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This passage troubled me Paul:

 

However, we have seen how the effects of imposed change become implemented over a period of years. For example, the requirements of the ‘Hierachy of Work at Height’ encouraging the use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) for tree work have resulted in a period of significant technological development, producing MEWPs that are suitable for tree work and becoming more and more competitively priced. It is very likely that technology will also answer some of the current challenges to the use of two ropes.

 

On MEWPs, I'm not convinced (FWIW) that MEWPs will be seen to be the panacea and first option of choice over climbing as time passes.  We've already seen some accidents and fatalities associated with the (inappropriate) use of MEWPs and the picture I seem to have developed from Stateside, where they are much more prevalent, is that the accidents associated with them seem also to be much more prevalent.  Sure, tech advances and price reductions are good - I'm actually looking at spiders myself at the moment.

 

But on the 1 rope 2 ends or 2 ropes question, the final sentence in the passage above seems to state that we should (now?) be using 2 seperate ropes...   

Edited by kevinjohnsonmbe

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11 minutes ago, Mick Dempsey said:

Ok thanks, then in reality (and I know you mentioned it earlier) there will be three points of attachment a lot of the time.

 

Were the AA consulted about this and did the AA go along with it?

We consulted HSE on a draft of TG1 (climbing guide replacement) and they picked up on it there in relation to SRT effectively being 'rope-access' and thereby requiring a backup/safety line at all times (as per W@H regs) and then reviewed single rope climbing as well referring back to 2004 research (which concluded 2 ropes...unless risk assessment says higher risk, which was never implemneted.) 

We did demo day for HSE inc their W@H specialist to show how we access and work safely on single lines, with 2nd attcahcment when working, but they weren't happy.

Sorry Mick, longwinded reply 

Paul

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8 minutes ago, Puffingbilly413 said:

Paul,

 

Your article seems to suggets a lack of clarity when it comes to analysing accident statistics on the part of the HSE:

 

' There is no SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code for accidents specifically in arboriculture, and despite prolonged lobbying from the AA and other sector representatives, the HSE claims it is unable to introduce this because the codes are tied to international standards. This means that while it is relatively easy to keep records of fatal accidents within the sector, it is much harder to maintain reliable data for the details of injuries.

 

However, in 2018, HSE analysed RIDDOR reports for the period April 2017–March 2018 by searching for key words. Although heavily caveated as not being a comprehensive record, the findings were published in an open paper (AFAG 33/02) which was presented at the November 2018 AFAG meeting. According to the analysis, there were 117 recorded RIDDOR-reportable incidents in arboriculture during that period. Of these, 23 were falls from height, of which one was fatal, 6 resulted in fractured vertebrae, 3 multiple fractures, 5 lower limb fractures and fracture to ankle, ribs and wrist.'

 

If the HSE cannot demonstrate that using a single anchor has been the cause of incidents, which from your article would appear to be the case, then how can these stats be used to change working practice?  Were climbers at fault themselves; were people even climbing or just falling off wobbly ladders; were they not tied in when moving around the tree etc etc.

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

A valid point Ed and one we are contiuning dialogue with HSE on, not that we expect them to change their opinion but it may help future decisions. 

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7 minutes ago, kevinjohnsonmbe said:

This passage troubled me Paul:

 

However, we have seen how the effects of imposed change become implemented over a period of years. For example, the requirements of the ‘Hierachy of Work at Height’ encouraging the use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) for tree work have resulted in a period of significant technological development, producing MEWPs that are suitable for tree work and becoming more and more competitively priced. It is very likely that technology will also answer some of the current challenges to the use of two ropes.

 

On MEWPs, I'm not convinced (FWIW) that MEWPs will be seen to be the panacea and first option of choice over climbing as time passes.  We've already seen some accidents and fatalities associated with the (inappropriate) use of MEWPs and the picture I seem to have developed from Stateside, where they are much more prevalent, is that the accidents associated with them seem also to be much more prevalent.  Sure, tech advances and price reductions are good - I'm actually looking at spiders myself at the moment.

 

But on the 1 rope 2 ends or 2 ropes question, the final sentence in the passage above seems to state that we should (now?) be using 2 serrate ropes...   

Hi Kevin, I think the context is out of kilter here a little.

The 'example' relating to MEWPs is to demonstrate that as industry approach / practice changes so does machinery and equip,emt to reflect such. I acknowledge accidents happen involving MEWPs happen too but hopefully as they become better designed to tree work that will reduce. 

Yep, if you wanna be compliant from tomorrow = 2 ropes to climb.

Sorry, rushed reply as my Horlicks going cold..

Paul

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1 minute ago, AA Teccie (Paul) said:

Hi Kevin, I think the context is out of kilter here a little.

The 'example' relating to MEWPs is to demonstrate that as industry approach / practice changes so does machinery and equip,emt to reflect such. I acknowledge accidents happen involving MEWPs happen too but hopefully as they become better designed to tree work that will reduce. 

Yep, if you wanna be compliant from tomorrow = 2 ropes to climb.

Sorry, rushed reply as my Horlicks going cold..  No worries mate, sorry lost track of time!!

Paul

2 ropes to climb - I've been trained wrong, been doing it wrong and could have faced HSE prosecution if I fell.  That's a big deal.

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35 minutes ago, skyhuck said:

Oh dear............

 

And this IMHO, is why the AA will never have any real relevance within the industry. (walks away shaking head)

This reply troubles me.

This change is imposed by HSE, consequentially to our consultation on TG1, we resisted it and did all we could to demo that current systems, if employed correctly, are safe.

We are an industry body / trade association 'they'are the regulator = TOP TRUMPED!

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3 minutes ago, kevinjohnsonmbe said:

2 ropes to climb - I've been trained wrong, been doing it wrong and could have faced HSE prosecution if I fell.  That's a big deal.

Fair comment Kevin but HSE, I expect, will be pragmatic in their application of the changes.

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So this means that when I’m climbing and pruning a small apple tree in Mrs miggins garden I will need to have two anchor points at all times and a third when I’m cutting? What is the point of that? I’ve been there done this when I worked for SSE and it just frustrates me and other climbers. It should be the climbers choice if he/she wants to use two lines

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